The Osaka District Court has ruled that the former manager of an unauthorized nightclub was not guilty of violating regulations by allowing dancing on the premises.
The court heard that Masatoshi Kanemitsu, 51, did not obtain government approval to operate a nightclub that allows dancing, when he opened his club NOON, and he was arrested in 2012, TV Asahi reported.
Nightclubs in Japan are subject to a law enacted in 1948 designed to safeguard public morals by not allowing dancing after midnight or 1 a.m. at dance halls, nightclubs and pachinko parlors. It was aimed at curbing prostitution.
Police have generally ignored the law, but in the past two years, a new crackdown has begun in larger cities, brought about by some murders in clubs, fighting and complaints from neighbors about noise.
During his trial -- the first of its kind in Japan -- Kanemitsu said the law was out of touch with society and that permitting dancing at his club did not in any way corrupt the sexual morals of young people, TV Asahi reported.
His lawyers said that the regulations against "obscene dancing" violate the constitutional right to freedom of expression.
In handing down its ruling, the court conceded that the regulations of the entertainment industry were designed to foster healthy morals of Japan's youth. "However, as patrons of the nightclub were not dancing inappropriately, the club's owner is not guilty of violating the regulations aforementioned," the court said, according to TV Asahi.
Following the ruling, Kanemitsu told reporters, "I think there needs to be a serious reform of entertainment business regulations. I am hoping to be able to work toward making that happen."© Japan Today